me tim frick
Moving During the Pandemic

No one wants to move during the pandemic, but we had no choice.

To be honest, moving during Coronavirus is a daunting task. Moving across the country is scary but moving during Covid-19 makes you question everything you do. You want to see friends and family members before you go but also want to be safe. You also have a moving company packing and unpacking all of your stuff. The thought of other people touching every single object right now I owned was scary!

If you follow me on social media, you know a few snafus happened during our move pack up:

  • The Car Shipping company lost our keys (and every car key on the truck). We had to overnight our dinky key and need to get new keys remade.
  • The movers and the van driver got into a large fight which ended up in our movers walking out mid pack. (And yes the military hired a “full service professional moving company”. Had we known all of this would happen we would have moved ourselves. My husband and I had to help pack the van (the moving services repacked it elsewhere).
  • My cat disappeared and was ultimately found in the ceiling of our basement. When you think your cat is missing on moving day, you go as far as to use the “NextDoor App” and offer a 1000 reward to anyone who finds him.

After all of the craziness, we were finally able to begin our cross country move during the pandemic.

When contemplating the options to move across the country (drive or fly), we settled on driving. Why? It seemed like more fun, but also I’m not entirely sure my comfort level on a commercial airplane during the Covid-19 outbreak. I knew in the car we could control who we saw and who we came into contact with.

Tim and I’s travel style is very low key. We didn’t have checkpoints or places we needed to be by a certain date and planned it as we went. I would call hotels while we were driving and see what was available for the day. Based on the 10-11 day travel span, we knew we needed to get between 300-400 miles (5-6 hours of driving). We wanted to spend a day out west somewhere; we didn’t know where either.

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Martucci's Flashback Diner (Whiting) pancakes
Martucci’s Flashback Diner (Whiting)

Martucci’s Flashback Diner (Whiting, NJ)

Before running the 18.12 Challenge, my husband and I stopped at Martucci’s Flashback Diner. I’ve only recently heard of Martucci’s Flashback Diner, and the thought of a new diner less than an hour from my house was exciting.

Martucci's Flashback Diner (Whiting)

Atmosphere: A
As the name suggests, Martucci’s Flashback Diner is a blast from the past. You don’t expect it from the outside.

Martucci’s Flashback Diner is located in a shopping center. It blends in with the building. When you enter Martucci’s Flashback Diner, you are immediately greeted with a retro diner. There are old school booths and tables, as well as a small bar.  As a military spouse, I appreciate the nod to all of the branches of the military. There are plenty of decorations, posters, and military signs.

Martucci's Flashback Diner (Whiting) military

Coffee: B
The coffee at Martucci’s Flashback Diner was ok. I asked for whipped cream, but it got lost in translation. The coffee itself was ok, but I could have used more refills.

Martucci's Flashback Diner (Whiting) coffee

Food: A
Martucci’s Flashback Diner has everything a retro diner would have. There aren’t fancy options, and you won’t find many healthy choices, but if you’re looking for a solid diner on your way to the shore, it’s a good option.  If you are looking for pancakes, pork roll, omelets, or sandwiches, there are many different options.

Martucci's Flashback Diner (Whiting) pancakes

I decided to order the full stack of blueberry pancakes. Pancakes are one of the riskiest items to order at any diner. Either they are flat and thin, or they are fluffy and delicious. Thankfully, the Martucci’s Flashback Diner’s pancakes were fluffy and delicious. They were one of the better pancakes I’ve had.

Martucci’s Flashback Diner Service: A
Our food came out quickly, and our waitress was friendly. I have no complaints.

Martucci’s Flashback Diner Cost: $
For my pancakes and coffee; the cost was $10.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I liked Martucci’s Flashback Diner, and it’s a hidden gem in the area. I will be back.

Thanks for the tip from my friend J Cohl.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Food: A
Service: A
Overall: A

You can see all 260 Diner Reviews here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite type of pancakes?
Where are the best pancakes you’ve had?

Four Years of Marriage

Four years ago was the best day of my life because my husband and I got married.  We had a wonderful wedding, and there is nothing we would have wanted differently.

As most people know, he is in the military and has been gone a lot.  While his deployments aren’t long (about two months), they are frequent and so are his other trips.  I won’t say it’s been easy and there have been plenty of hard days. I will say we are still as happy as the day we met.

Today I knew today I wanted to post about our anniversary but had no idea what to post.  I finally settled on a “how we met post.”  Many long term readers know “how we met,” but many people don’t. I’m always interested to see how other people met their significant other, so I thought I would share.

So How Did We Meet?

My husband and I met during college cross country season in 2011.  It was a scrimmage race between our respected two universities.

Tim ended up winning the scrimmage race for men, and I won for females. After the scrimmage, we talked for a while and went on a run a few weeks later.   Cross country season went by, and we still chatted after the season.  During this time, I was coming back from my first serious running injury a tibial stress fracture.  Tim did multiple sports and was getting ready for ski season.  Since cross country was over, and he was no longer running competitively, running at a slower pace didn’t matter.  I was running easy after my injury, and he was running easy just to run.

YAY an old school college picture.

Eventually, after several runs, we hung out outside of running. When the semester ended, we both went to our hometowns for the winter break. Tim drove down to Virginia Beach and visited for New Years.

Later in the spring, we officially started “officially dating”.  I was blogging at the time, and I don’t think I even mentioned on the blog: OMG you guys, a new boy in my life”.

In May of 2012, we both graduated from college and decided to try a long distance relationship.  Our options at that point were long distance or break up.

Tim went to Air Force Undergraduate Pilot school in Texas, and I began working in Oswego, NY.  During that time, we both learned a lot about ourselves, interests and hobbies.  We went just over six months without seeing each other.  It was one of the hardest times of our relationship but worth it.  The first time we saw each other again was that Thanksgiving, and it was as if nothing had changed.

My first visit to Texas

After Thanksgiving, we saw each other again for Christmas, then in March and in May. It was a lot easier than the first few months.  After nearly a year of distance, we made the decision I would move to Texas. As much as I enjoyed my job in Oswego, I wanted to continue my relationship with Tim, and we had to eventually move (he did not have that choice).

In Texas, they have these for decoration…
Winning a growler at a half marathon in Texas

Then in late 2013, Tim graduated his pilot training, and we were told we would be moving to New Jersey. Neither of us knew anything about NJ (except people drive very quickly on the Turnpike).

I’ve now lived in NJ for five years, and I love it. We never thought we would stay here this long, but I don’t mind. I’ve made incredible friends, I enjoy my job and there is always something to do.  We are only a few miles from Philadelphia and a short (3-6 hour) drive from both of our parents, New York City and Baltimore.

On April 1, 2014, Tim proposed to me.  It was exactly what I wanted, low key and at our house.  We are low key, and I could not have asked for a better proposal.  As much as we both love running, proposing at a race or in front of hundreds of people is not either of our scenes.  Neither are big crowds or making a huge scene.


Engagement photo

Even though we lived in New Jersey, we decided to get married in my hometown area in Norfolk, Virginia.  We spent a year wedding planning and got married on April 12, 2015.  While planning a wedding further away was more difficult, it wasn’t as stressful because we both have such supportive and helpful parents. For each of the things. We couldn’t have dreamed for a better day.

After our wedding, we took a few days to relax and went straight on our honeymoon.  We decided to spend a few days in Key West and go on a cruise in the Carribean.  It was a great vacation, and it was perfect.

Then a few days after we got home, he was deployed for a while.  For the first six months of our marriage, he was gone for just over 4.  Afterward, he was home for a bit more, but for the past four years, he has been a lot.

Throughout the first few years of marriage, we have learned a lot about ourselves and each other.  Even though I grew up as a military child, being a spouse much different.  It’s not always easy, but the time we do have together makes it worth it.  I’m also thankful for my family and friends who help me get by.

We aren’t able to celebrate today, but that is okay. We might talk today; we might not.  It doesn’t mean I love my husband any less.  I could not ask for a better person in my life.

Although we met through running and it’s a part of both our lives we do a lot of other things together too.

Flying together

new york city private flying



grand canyon north rim
Visiting the Grand Canyon

hiking flagstaff mountain boulder

Here are some other posts about my husband and I (or just my husband): 
Wedding Post
Flying Together
Tim’s Recap of the Mercedes Marathon

Questions for you: How did you meet your spouse?  When is your anniversary? 


sandy hook gateway recreation area
Exploring Sandy Hook Biking Trail

Sandy Hook Biking Trail (Sandy Hook, NJ)

Recently, my husband and I went up to Sandy Hook and the Gateway Recreational Area.  Sandy Hook is a large park with a beautiful biking path: ie the Sandy Hook biking trail.

The Sandy Hook Unit is located in Sandy Hook which is on the northeast shore of New Jersey.   Why is it called the “Gateway”?

Photo was taken by me when we flew over the Sandy Hook Biking Trail last year

The barrier peninsula forms the other side of the “gateway” to New York Harbor. The Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area is located in New Jersey. In total, Sandy Hook has 6 miles of beaches. There are also many historical sites, including Fort Hancock, Lighthouse,  Missile site, and military artillery batteries.  There is also a lengthy Sandy Hook biking trail which is great for runners or bikers.  Plus a beautiful view of New York City and a great view of Manhatten.

sandy hook gateway recreation area

There are Two Primary Sites on the Sandy Hook Biking Trail:

Fort Hancock: served as part of the harbor’s coastal defense system from 1895 until 1974.  There are over 100 historic buildings still left today.

sandy hook gateway recreation area

sandy hook gateway recreation area

sandy hook gateway recreation area

sandy hook gateway recreation area
Walking through the Battery on the Sandy Hook Biking Trail

sandy hook gateway recreation area

The Sandy Hook Biking Trail takes you around the park.

Sandy Hook itself contains seven beaches.  What I didn’t realize was there is even a nude beach (Gunnison Beach).  Since it was 40 and windy, no one was there.  Surrounding the beaches are salt marshes.  It looked like it was an excellent spot for both fishing and surfing as we saw more people doing that than exploring.

sandy hook gateway recreation area

sandy hook gateway recreation area

sandy hook gateway recreation area
OMG nude beach

Also while exploring the Sandy Hook Biking trail, it’s worth your while to check out is the Sandy Hook Lighthouse. sandy hook gateway recreation area

Outside of the primary Sandy Hook biking trail, there are three hiking trails and one short boardwalk within the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area. We spent about 90 minutes walking around the Sandy Hook Biking Trail, but it looks like a great spot to get to run or bike over 10 miles.  Most of the trails are bike path or pavement.

sandy hook gateway recreation area

In all, we had a great time at the Sandy Hook Biking Trail.  Not our typical “hike through woods” but never the less a great time. The Sandy Hook biking trail and the national park is a great afternoon troop. It would be a beautiful beach or running trail to run if we lived closer.

You can see more hikes here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been to a nude beach? (I actually have when I went on a cruise to the Carribean a while back).

Do you have any cool historical spots near you? Have you been to Sandy Hook or the Sandy Hook Biking trail? 

Hartshorne Park atlantic highlands
Exploring Hartshorne Woods Park in the Highlands

Hartshorne Woods Park

As part of my “spring and summer” NJ bucket list, I want to go to more local parks.  Last year we went to a lot of northeast parks, but we’ve been feeling the shore this year!  I’ve already been to Turkey Swamp in Freehold as well as Cattus Island in Toms River.

Anyway, one park I’ve wanted to go to was Hartshorne Woods Park in the Atlantic Highlands.  It’s a little bit of a treck (about 80 minutes), but one random weekday last week, we decided to drive up to Hartshorne Park. Hartshorne Woods Park is in monmouth county parks and has plenty of easy trails including the rocky point trail, laurel ridge trail, and battery loop.

Hartshorne Woods Parkis a lot hillier than anticipated.  I thought, oh it’s along the shore it will probably be flat.  That was not the case and my Garmin said I climbed about 80 flights of stairs.  Not that it matters, but don’t go to Hartshorne Woods Park expecting a flat shore park.  Hartshorne Woods Park is 794-acre site and overlooks the Navesink River.  After some research, I came to find out it’s one of the highest elevations along the Atlantic Coast.   If you are looking for a great park for walking, hiking, and even mountain biking (we saw many bikers), Hartshorne Woods Park is for you!  No, Hartshorne Woods Park is not paying me to tell you that, parks are free fun.

One thing that drew my husband and I here was the history of Hartshorne Woods Park:

During World War II, batteries for artillery were built in Hartshorne Woods Park to modernize coastal defense.  You can view several of the bunkers in the park.

With the rise of Airpower (go Air Force).  Military bunkers were not needed as much. During the Cold War, Hartshorne Woods Park served as a missile defense site and command center.  Hartshorne Woods Park was equipped with radar, computers and electronic plotting devices.  All of these structures have been removed, but the bunkers are still in place.

The Hartshorne Woods Park site is now listed officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


As I mentioned, I hadn’t done a lot of research about hiking in Hartshorne Woods Park.  If I had, I would have known all of the historic sites are in the parking lot, and the park is much hillier than anticipated.  We got there around noon, and it took us just about 4 hours to hike 8 miles.  We stopped, we took photos, we looked at the history.  Hartshorne Woods Park is a beautiful park with many different views from the woods and deer, to the shore, as well as the military site.

We ended up doing the grand tour about 8 miles around the trails and then finished up by viewing the military site and battery lewis at Hartshorne Woods Park.

I didn’t expect so much green at Hartshorne Woods Park, but we did about 6 miles of hiking through that.  Before we came, I expected Hartshorne Woods Park to be on the water since that is what people took photos of!

Hartshorne park

A very large treeHartshorne park

Another large treeHartshorne park

Most of my photos are from the military site which is within 200 yards of the parking lot.

Hartshorne Park atlantic highlands
A Map of the site
Hartshorne Park atlantic highlands
The Bunker

Hartshorne Park atlantic highlands

Hartshorne Park atlantic highlands

Hartshorne Park atlantic highlands

Now onto the hiking portion at Hartshorne Woods Park.  With the hiking, it goes deep into the pines as well as near the water.  There are so many different views!

Hartshorne Park atlantic highlands

Hartshorne Park atlantic highlands

In all, it was a beautiful hike in the forest as well as along the water.  I’m glad we finally made it up to Hartshorne Woods Park.

Other Spring hikes I’ve Done:

Hiking Turkey Swamp in Freehold

Exploring Cattus Island in Toms River

You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:

What was the last historical place you went? Have you been to Hartshorne Woods Park?

Do you plan to go to the beach this summer?

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